Written with Jackie Lustig
This week RaceTalk went to a couple of local Massachusetts technology industry events where innovation was on display – even in a recession. At the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Awards (MITX), the organization shared research highlights that were astounding. The New England tech innovation ecosystem contributed $23+ billion to the region’s economy in 2008, up 20% over the previous year. There were lots of cool companies in the audience including LogMeIn, Vitality, SwapTree, Ember, and more. MITX’s annual lifetime achievement award went to Helen Grenier, CEO, The Droid Works and Co-Founder and Director of iRobot.
At this week’s MassNetComm’s Innovation Summit we heard an interesting panel that included serial entrepreneurs and an ex-governor. All were bullish about innovation and technology – and even more so in a recession. The panel noted, however, that this recession presents some new challenges such as more global competition and more government regulation. Open source and outsourcing, however, open up new opportunities. 16 companies in mobile, video, broadband infrastructure and cloud computing did one minute (!) fast pitches to judges from IBM, Cisco, Charles River Ventures, EMC, PwC, etc. The entrepreneurs did a fantastic job.
We left these two events feeling very upbeat and proud of our regional economy. No reason to feel inferior to Silicon Valley. NetApp, pay attention and stop bemoaning East Coast culture.